As the New Year’s celebrations kick off, it’s important to let loose, but don’t go overboard with the celebrating. If you’re going out either on the road or on the water, be responsible. If you’re driving, don’t drink. And if you do drink, don’t drive a motor vehicle or watercraft—especially if you have passengers on board.
As people go partying for New Year’s Eve (NYE), DWI arrests increase significantly. And if you own a boat, the temptation to take it out on NYE is almost too great—and you shouldn’t if you’re a responsible captain. However, not everyone is responsible, which is why boating while intoxicated (BWI) arrests rise on NYE.
If you were recently charged with BWI during the holidays, you might feel nervous, stressed, anxious, and frustrated. If this is a first-time offense, then think of this blog as your NYE boating while intoxicated guide.
1. Call a Qualified DWI Lawyer ASAP
First things first. As soon as you make bail, hire a lawyer. Under Texas law, a person can be charged with BWI if their blood alcohol content (also known as BAC) is equal to or more than .08. If you’re operating a motorboat while intoxicated, you’re putting your life and the lives of your passengers and other boaters at risk.
A first-time conviction carries a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in prison. Second-time convictions entail up to one full year in prison and a maximum fine of $4,000. And if you’re convicted for a third time, you’ll spend between two and 10 years in prison and pay up to $10,000 in fines.
These penalties are serious; they can affect both your family and professional lives. The worst mistake you can make from here is representing yourself in court. The court system is complex, and a tenacious criminal defense attorney can help you through all the procedures and actions you’ll need to take. They’ll build a strong case for you with the goal of getting your case dismissed.
2. Inform Your Family
Since it’s a new year and a fresh beginning, you may feel tempted to hide your arrest from your family. We’re not saying announce your arrest to the world, of course, but this is an extremely difficult time and it will require numerous trips to the courthouse. If you don’t have enough support, you’ll struggle to navigate the ebbs and flows of this critical process.
Turn to your loved ones for guidance, encouragement, and reassurance. They’ll provide the emotional strength you need to get through the legal proceedings without crumbling under the pressure.
3. Seek Counseling
Even though you were wrongly arrested, your BWI could be the tip of the iceberg, letting you know that you may have a substance abuse issue. The judge will want to see that you are addressing the issue and trying to improve your life. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and seeing a counselor shows that you are concerned about the issue and are taking steps to catch it early. In most courts, this shows good faith and that you are making an effort to not repeat the incident.
Recommended Read: Key Differences Between BWI and DWI Charges in Texas
Your NYE BWI charges can land you in some serious trouble if you don’t fight them with an aggressive defense. It’s important that you hire a criminal defense lawyer whom you feel comfortable with and who can build a strong case for you. It’s important to understand that a BWI conviction can impact your career and affect many professional licenses like a nurse’s, doctor’s, and pilot’s. It can also affect your insurance rates and your ability to travel to some countries. Finally, a guilty verdict will also affect the severity of a subsequent BWI charge should you be arrested again.
Over the years, JL Carpenter has successfully handled BWI cases for clients just like you. Contact her today. She also works on DWI, drug possession, family violence, and domestic violence cases in Friendswood, Houston, Clear Lake, Galveston, and the surrounding areas.